40+ Realizations: Things I Wish I Would’ve Done More of (or Realized) in College

A few weeks ago, Julie McReynolds asked me to join for a second AMA event, held at MTSU (because I so enjoyed a panel discussion in Nashville, for students and professionals in transition). On the first version, I was asked to step in for a panelist who had an emergency. On the second event, I was asked to drive out to Murfreesboro (ppl who know me know that this is unheard of…it’s like driving to China) and do a speed round of networking with soon-to-graduate sales/marketing majors.


In prep, the professor (who ended up knowing my Grandfather and his admin asst, when he was there at MTSU) asked us the question posed as the title of this post.

I was stumped.

Except I wasn’t.

The things I’ve realized, since ‘adulting,’ happens to be what shapes me.  And it’s amazing what happens when realization occurs – years after…hence my realization of just being a late bloomer.

So, things that I wish I would’ve done more of, in college (and now in retrospect), are:
  • Paid more attention in accounting class so that I understood P&L’s better than I did coming into owning my own business. I did fine in accounting, did better in stats and econ, but man…but I wish that side had sunk in and rubbed off more. ALL PR/Marketing students should be sure to PAY ATTENTION IN ACCOUNTING CLASS!
  • Been more risk tolerant than at first; not in an investing/financial kind of way (I was willing to take risks in that space)…but from the stance of doing what wasn’t cool (or what I thought might not of been cool). I didn’t realize that it was OK to be weird that I should’ve gone to the convocation by myself because I thought it would be cool or that going to the play just because I want to go see a play (since I was kind of an arts nerd) would be fun to do by myself.  And various other things. I really wish I would have figured out that being, and doing things, on my own didn’t necessarily mean that I was uncool…and I guess that’s the second part of it – that being weird is cool – even if someone else thinks it’s not.
  • I wish I had understood then that the insecurity of others, as in people having an issue with me or making fun of me, in some way was more about their insecurity that it was mine. Most times when people have issues it’s about them…it’s about what happened to them that day/week and they’re taking it out on the first person that they think they can. It has nothing to do with you – most of the time – and that’s the unfortunate part of growing up and being unsure…or insecure.  I grew up as an only child and while I didn’t start off as a introvert (ages 0-7) I was actually an extrovert…vocal, talkative, outgoing and oblivious of what others thought of me and why they thought it because I was a strong-willed kid…I just did me. I became an introvert because I started feeling like I didn’t fit “the mold” others thought I should.  So, by 3rd grade (when I was in the accelerated class where there was no other person of color) my neighborhood peers thought I thought I was better than them. Plus, my mom taught at the same school that I attended and that made it worse (though in retrospect, I wouldn’t trade being in the same place as my mamma any day). Oh, and let’s pick any other type of thing…like I had piano lessons and they didn’t or I had a cute new outfit because my mom stayed up till 2am to sew it for me because it was picture day or I got an A on a paper…or…or…or. I got hella grief. So, it wasn’t until college (an more realistically well after college) that I slightly realized sometimes someone’s issues just aren’t about me.
  • I wish I had been a bit more fashion forward, I think this goes back to the idea of being weird is OK. But the healthcare conservative suits got me, once I started working. 🙁
  • I wish I had understood that being WOKE doesn’t mean that I have to do it like everybody else has. Being woke is doing things that are right by your people -whoever your people are.
  • …that coming to PR the way I did meant that my steps included that I’d been more attentive in writing classes. I came to PR by way of marketing and I wish I’d taken more writing classes in college. We didn’t have a journalism department but we had an English department and I did the minimum in those classes. However, once I dug in to my profession….I figured out my craft…figured out my clients’ voice so I could write it.  It’s just that it took me a few more minutes (minutes, meaning years) to figure out that I could write; I was actually afraid of doing PR in a role that I was supposed to be doing PR in, and I gravitated more towards the marketing side of my job than I did the PR side of my job — especially since I had a PR firm that did all the PR for us. But I wish I’d understood the dynamics quicker! Good thing I got that down!
  • At best, I wish I realized how hard it is to be an adult. adulting panic attackThe adulting is fun when it’s fun. But it’s a lot of hard work, realizations and connecting points –> to things you really did learn in college…either traditional learning…or social/emotional learning/experiences that inform the future.

Adulting is fun. 

Adulting is hard.

Adutling is life. Live it and learn as fast as you can.

We ended up not sharing the type of info that I’d prepped for the event. But I thought it was good, helpful, even resourceful (even if for me alone).

I work hard…always have. Time for reflection during the adulting phase helps keep things in perspective.

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